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JF

I never understood the British fixation with the nature of our relationship. Taking Kyoto, the NatWest Three, and Iraq as proof that the United States is abusing its main ally is bizarre. We just signed a new defense treaty that allows our defense contractors to work more closely together, we share intelligence and technology at a unique level with Britain, and our economies are increasingly interlocked.

If one wanted to make an argument that an ally of ours is a poodle, that argument would be much more fitting (even if incorrect) for Japan, not Britain.

Adam

What a shame - I usually like Andrew Sullivan. Ho hum.

I really don't see what is attractive about Sullivan's poodleism - he himself admits that Blair has had no influence whatsoever over policy in Iraq. Thatcher and Wilson offer a much better model for the relationship. Although both were fervent Atlanticists Thatcher hit the roof over Grenada, US shuttle diplomacy during the Falklands, and Reykjavik; whereas Wilson for his part famously refused to send British troops into Vietnam. They saw the relationship as one where US and British interests came together. Blair sees it as one where British interests are abandoned in favour of US ones. I know which model I prefer.

Torben

I just don't get this interest thing. As a Dane I strongly (and still do) support the Iraq War. Does that necessarily mean that I support something which is in the US interest and not in the Danish interest? How so?
And what about what is in the interest of the world?

JF

Torben, that's the challenge, isn't it? Even now, Democrats in the United States are starting to say that there is no "Global War on Terror." They fail to see that just as terrorists attacked the United States, Great Britain, Spain, Lebanon, Israel, and other countries around the world, our allies around the world must unite to fight them; the US cannot do it alone.

But isn't it easier to let the US and UK spend all the money and spill all the blood and become the prime targets of the terrorists, while the rest of the world sits on the sidelines and watches? Of course it's easier, which is why that is the way this is playing out. The charges of "poodledom" have made it increasingly likely that the UK will follow suit and drop out of the fight as well.

Europe especially has become adept at benefiting from the US defense umbrella while railing against the US for propaganda purposes. That's why the war is portrayed as an American war only, even if the rest of the Western world benefits from it.

Denise

According to this biography of Blair by Philip Stephens I have, Blair tried to get Clinton to invade Iraq. Why is this never mentioned? So I'm wondering was it really Blair who was the poodle? Or was it Bush?

Joanna

Why can't we just say neither was a poodle and both were following their countries' interests? Blair had wanted to deal with Iraq for some time; Bush had put Iraq on his "axis of evil" and needed to back up his words with action.

I have to say, I rather agree with JF on Europe.

JF

Joanna, case in point:

France Says Defense Budget To Stay Near 2 percent of its GDP

And I had such high hopes for Sarkozy.

Joanna

JF,

Do you know why Britain can't look for carriers in the U.S.? Are they too big or too expensive? Or is this a recent development?

JF

Joanna, I can't say for certain, not being intimately familiar with military matters. If I had to speculate, I would guess that it's either due to:

1) affordability. I remember reading that the British navy is looking to build some carriers with a displacement of 60,000 tonnes, while the United States has been building carriers with a displacement of 100,000+ tonnes (i.e. supercarriers)

2) politics. Britain has an open defense market, but in an attempt to meet its obligations as "good Europeans," wants to funnel some procurement largess on continental shipbuilders.

Just guesses, though.

JF

Sorry for the spelling. I meant tons.

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